Thelma Clack Lifetime Volunteer Award

Thelma Clack was a parent of a child with osteogenesis imperfecta who volunteered to do everything possible for the OI Foundation without thought of recognition or reward.  After her passing in 1989, an award was created in her honor to be given annually to the volunteer who best exemplifies the qualities of a loyal and dedicated volunteer. 

The recipient of the Thelma Clack Lifetime Volunteer Award will be someone who has served the OI community for ten or more years in the areas of awareness, fundraising, volunteerism/service, advocacy, and/or involvement with the OI community. They also give without thought of reward or recognition demonstrating a spirit of willingness to put others before self, as demonstrated by Thelma Clack.

Congratulations to the Recipient of the OI Foundation's

2018 Thelma Clack Award

Mark D. Birdwhistell


Mark Headshot

Mark D. Birdwhistell served for seven years on the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation’s Board of Directors – three of which he was President. During Mark’s time on the board, he guided the OIF through an unprecedented growth in mission delivery including the OIF’s participation in a multi-year commitment in the National Institutes of Health’s Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network – the Brittle Bone Disorders Consortium. Mark’s leadership allowed the OIF to become a leader in the rare disease community. His direct knowledge of how to navigate a complicated health care system, combined with his outstanding communication and negotiating skills, enabled the OIF to become a valuable partner in the work of the BBDC.

It is Mark’s keen understanding of how and who to bring together that enabled the OIF to expand our mission delivery to reach hundreds of new constituents across the country and fulfill a longstanding need for the OI community. His support of the need to bring information and services to individuals unable to attend an OIF national conference has now become our very successful Regional Conference Program. The program reaches hundreds of people each year.

Mark’s compassion and passion for helping people living with OI, partnered with his outstanding leadership skills, continue to make him a wonderful advocate for the OIF. The OIF was incredibly fortunate to have Mark at the helm of our organization for three very productive years and are honored to present him with the Thelma Clack Lifetime Volunteer Award!

Mark currently serves as the Vice President for Administration and External Affairs for the University of Kentucky HealthCare. In this capacity, he provides executive leadership in administration and strategic direction across the clinical enterprise, collaborating effectively with physicians and other leadership of the healthcare team. Mark is also responsible for the development and oversight of UK HealthCare, clinical outreach and development initiatives including clinical co-management approaches. In addition he provides direction and oversight to marketing and public relations. He represents UK HealthCare at the local, state and national levels, and serves as a national speaker on healthcare policy and Medicaid reform efforts. Mark lives with his wife, Martha, in Richmond, Kentucky, is the father of Matthew and Mary Alice – the Senior Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church and adult living with OI in Waco, TX – and proud grandfather of Lily, Evan, and Ella.





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